Open Access

Detoxification-related gene expression accompanies anhydrobiosis in the foliar nematode (Aphelenchoides fragariae)


The foliar nematode (Aphelenchoides fragariae) is a quarantined pest that infects a broad range of herbaceous and woody plants. Previous work has demonstrated its remarkable ability to survive rapid and extreme desiccation, although the specific molecular mechanisms underlying its anhydrobiotic response have not been characterized. The authors used RNA sequencing and de novo transcriptome assembly to compare patterns of gene expression between hydrated and 24-hr desiccated nematodes. In total, 2,083 and 953 genes were significantly up- and downregulated, respectively, in desiccated nematodes. Of the 100 annotated genes with the largest positive fold-changes, more than one third encoded putative detoxification-related proteins. Genes encoding enzymes of Phase I and Phase II detoxification systems were among the most strongly upregulated in the transcriptome, including 35 cytochrome p450s, 23 short chain dehydrogenase/reductases, 5 glutathione-S-transferases, and 22 UDP-glucuronosyltransferases. Genes encoding heat shock proteins, unfolded protein response enzymes, and intrinsically disordered proteins were also upregulated. Anhydrobiosis in A. fragariae appears to involve both strategies to minimize protein misfolding and aggregation, and wholesale induction of the cellular detoxification machinery. These processes may be controlled in part through the activity of forkhead transcription factors similar to Caenorhabditis elegansdaf-16, a number of which were differentially expressed under desiccation.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other